Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured, short-term and problem-focused type of psychotherapy used to treat various mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders and substance use disorders. It combines philosophical, behavioral and scientific aspects do aide in overcoming psychological problems. The central concept behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that one feels the way they think. This means that changing your stream of thoughts into a healthier direction will lead to improvement in how you feel, which in return affects your behavior and helps you make better and healthier life choices. It is important not to confuse cognitive behavioral therapy with psychotherapy, which aims to discover the unconscious behind certain behaviors. Unlike psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy is highly goal-oriented and problem-focused. Specific goals are set early, and the entire therapy is guided in the direction of achieving them. Another thing that is characteristic for cognitive behavioral therapy is that it is a short-term type of treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be conducted on an individual basis or in the form of group therapy. Different types of behavioral therapy are available depending on the individual needs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be an effective treatment for less severe forms of mental disorders and substance abuse (except opioid abuse) even when not combined with medications.
Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback, a process of collecting information such as heart rate, blood pressure and brain wave patterns with an aim to establish control over these automatic processes in a human body. Neurofeedback is also known as EEG biofeedback, because it uses electroencephalogram or EEG. EEG is a machine that measures brain activity, with an aim to achieve self-regulation of brain function during and after neurofeedback therapy.
Neurofeedback started in the 1950s and 60s as a part of astronaut training, but its application in medicine began in the early 80s. Today it is widely used to treat various mental health disorders such as ADHD, drug abuse and addiction, suicidal behavior, anxiety and depression. Its use is not necessarily restricted to mental health disorders; it is also used by professional sports players, businessmen and others who want to achieve their peak performance.
What neurofeedback really does is that it retrains a brain to form a strong foundation for recovery from addiction. It sets the mind in a more relaxed, focused and calm state. All of this is achieved through positive reinforcement, or in other words a process of rewarding brain activity patterns that signalize relaxed and calm brain. The brain seeks the reward and practically trains itself to be more relaxed and more focused.
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive technique and it does not have any side effects, which is an advantage when compared to medications. Its effects are considered to be long-term, and after a proper training with a professional its use can be continued at home by an individual.